Anil Khichar
Anil Khichar
Principal Technical Architect

My 6X Google Cloud Certification Journey

My 6X Google Cloud Certification Journey
#LifelongLearning: Understanding the platform & technology, over just getting certified

As a Senior Technical Architect at MediaAgility, I have over a decade of deep technical and procedural knowledge in IT, data science, analytics, AI, and Google Cloud.

I became 6X Google Cloud certified in slightly over a year.

These were the first exams I sat down to study for since my graduation in 2009.

My initial aim wasn’t to get these many certifications, but when the benefits started to show, I realized that these are not just about getting these 6 certificates from Google. I could see that my thinking and approach got more methodical, I started to work on GCP projects at my company, I refined my approach to designing new customer solutions for large enterprises, and I got more inclined to learning, not just studying and memorizing.

here I am :)

If I have to summarize my experience of passing each of the Google Cloud certification exam in one line, then it has to be what Mahatma Gandhi said: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever”.

My recommendation to my fellow developers will be to appear for these Google certification exams because they have the potential to improve our work and the impact it has on the projects we consult on.

Through this post, I will try to handover all the learning and tips from my exam preparation days. For curriculum content, I sticked to Coursera, QwikLabs, and Google documentation and that was enough.

Further, my common preparation pattern across all 6 certs was as follows:

  1. Read the Google Cloud certification website thoroughly. It has all the information to help us prepare. For instance, for the Associate certification (and also for all other certifications), you will find the exam overview, guide, and practice exams. You will also find additional resources under the ‘exam overview’ section. I will suggest going through the ‘exam overview’ and the ‘exam guide’ thoroughly to know the topics in the curriculum. This will help to set realistic expectations and draft a preparation strategy. There is also a curated list of GCP resources by GitHub, that you might want to refer.
  2. Coursera, Linux Academy, and Cloud Guru — all offer course material for exam preparation. I studied from Coursera. If you choose Coursera, you must subscribe to Coursera for Google Cloud and choose the specialization corresponding to your target exam. Here is a list of the Coursera specialization/courses against the certifications:

Certification Name | Specialization Name

Professional Cloud Architect | Architecting with Google Cloud Platform Specialization and Preparing for the Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect Examination

Professional Data Engineer | Data Engineering on Google Cloud Platform Specialization and Preparing for the Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer Examination

Professional Cloud Developer | Developing Applications with Google Cloud Platform

Professional Cloud Security Engineer | Security in Google Cloud Platform and Google Cloud Platform Fundamentals: Core Infrastructure

Professional Cloud Network Engineer | Networking in Google Cloud Platform Specialization

Associate Cloud Engineer | Architecting with Google Cloud Platform Specialization

This will be my suggestion for studying from Coursera:

  • Watch every video. I preferred playing the videos at 1.5x speed and after a couple of them, I went for 1.75x speed. I did it since the topics were known to me and most of them needed just brushing up.
  • PRO TIP: If you find something interesting, take screenshots using awesome-screenshot chrome plugin. I recommend this plugin since it creates a Google Drive folder where these snaps get saved automatically. These were my personal notes that I used for revision.
  • Answer every questionnaire that pops after the modules with complete dedication as if you were appearing for the exams.
  • Perform QwikLabs’s practice lab religiously. These will come at the end of every module. QwikLabs provides real cloud environments that help developers and IT professionals learn cloud platforms and software.
  • My personal goal was always to finish a one-week Coursera module in a single day. That was a goal that worked for me, you need not be necessarily doing it. Consistency is the key and it eventually leads to speed. Speed shouldn’t be the primary preparation strategy.

3. Check your readiness: You can take mock practice exams to evaluate your preparation. The Google Cloud certification site has all the links to the practice exams and resources — this is a directory for the exams, it has all the required information. A score of anything equal to or more than 17 out of 20 is a good score. Please don’t forget to analyze your answers and the explanation that is displayed on the result screen. Read GCP documentation links that are suggested after the exam. This is the last step before you register and schedule your exam.

  • However, if your score is below 17, you will need more analysis and work. Note down the wrong answers and prepare a list of topics that are pulling your score down. Carefully read and understand every GCP documentation link that is provided to you on the result screen. Do more hands-on exercises on certification-specific QwikLabs quests (for instance, for Cloud Architect exam, this is the quest). Focus on your weak areas more. Then once again, come back and check your readiness. Repeat this till your score is more than 17.

On the exam day, revise your own notes from Google Drive. Prepare yourself mentally to take the challenge head-on and don’t get flustered.

Even though my personal goal was to score 17 or above, I still strongly believe these exams are not the ultimate goal. These are means to the ultimate goal of becoming better at what we like to do.

Core mantra has to be: Never target for certification, rather understand the platform & technology, because this will help us to design better solutions for our customers and perform our work in a qualitative manner. These are the perks of being a lifelong learner.

Prepare well and all the best for the exam!